Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * * *
In the world of trilogies, always save the best release for last; unless it is the Jaws franchise, this maxim usually works like a charm and for Mark Pountney, the trilogy is completed by a stunning, absolute performance and set of songs that really hark back to the days of innocent playing, of tracks that tell the story to several lives and give nothing but pleasure in each one.
A year in which Mark Pountney has already released two stunning albums, in which to see him perform has been of the brightest value and deeply intoxicating, this third album, Mark III, is a truly remarkable beast, entertaining, full of inspiration and the ability to take you beyond the comfy chair in your living room and deposit you out on the dusty trail, where the sweat of field of cactus’s is only enhanced by the shadows formed by the horse underneath your body as you groove slowly across the deserts and find a watering hole with fine whisky served in a tall glass; this is image presented by Mr. Pountney and it is one to drink in at any cost.
It might be considered bad form to release three albums in one year, it rarely works out well for the artist; the likes of Genesis and queen produced two back to back greats within the 12 month period and yet the alleged greed of recording by some makes their efforts pale, insignificant and spineless. Not so for Mark Pountney, Mark III is not just the tip of the iceberg, it is a 100 foot breaker in a field of cool, unrelenting and passionate releases.
You can almost hear the Prairie Dogs in the distance as you take in the words and the country infused groove laid out on the album, the rustle of a pit full of snakes far in the wind and the slow meandering Mississippi River reaching its gushing conclusion as the songs leave their mark on the soul.
In tracks such as Diamond Of My Mind, The Losing Hand, the fantastic and alluring Postcard From New York and the graciously wonderful Cowboy and a Mexican, Mark Pountney really excels, he just plays with supreme confidence and pride that you cannot but help feel honoured to have gone through the range of emotions he has carried across the year’s releases.
Marking out time in such a way might be considered folly in some eyes but as Mark Pountney has proved this year, if you have the songs, then it doesn’t matter how many pieces of art you show to the people.
Ian D. Hall